Kyrgyz leader calls for calm after deadly conflict with Tajikistan


Between September 14 and 16, at least 100 people were killed in clashes involving tanks, aviation and rocket artillery on a disputed section of the border in Kyrgyzstan’s Batken province.

“We are continuing our efforts to resolve the Kyrgyz-Tajik border issues in a purely peaceful manner,” Japarov said in a televised address on a national day of mourning.

“One more point I want to mention: I urge calm among the men and youth who are willing to go to Batken … We have courageous fighters and enough troops to repel those who transgress our borders.”

Japarov also asked Kyrgyzstan not to trust “provocateurs who defame our strategic partners, friendly nations and peoples who share our position”.

Separately, Russian news agencies reported that both Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have agreed to withdraw additional military equipment and forces from the border, citing a statement from the head of Tajikistan’s Sogdiyskaya region.

Both sides have also agreed to continue to resolve the border dispute.

Kyrgyz authorities also said they had negotiated Monday for the release of four border guards captured by Tajik forces during the conflict.

Tajikistan’s foreign ministry said on Monday that the key to resolving the conflict lies in negotiations, reiterating its position that Kyrgyzstan had initiated the fighting.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sodik Emomi told a briefing that ethnic Tajiks who were not Tajik citizens were detained in Kyrgyzstan and Kyrgyz drones had been spotted flying into Tajik territory at night.

Border issues in Central Asia stem largely from the Soviet era, when Moscow attempted to divide the region between groups whose settlements often lay amid those of other ethnicities.

Emomi said there have been more than 230 border incidents between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in the past 20 years, with the focus of the latest conflict being an area of ​​2,000 square kilometers (772 square miles).

Former Soviet republics of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are both allied to Moscow and house Russian military bases. Russia has avoided taking sides in the conflict and urged the parties to resolve it peacefully.

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